The 10 Android Tablet Apps You Shouldn’t Live Without

by Jack Holt on
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I have had my fair share of tablets over the years in both the 7-inch and 10-inch varieties. With each tablet purchase, I discovered that I had a growing list apps of that I couldn’t live without. Over the years that number has increased, and while I could go through each app and its purpose, I narrowed the list down to the ten apps I use almost daily. At the touch of a fingertip they provide access to my friends, social networks, work, and news. Hit the break to see what they are.

10. – DashClock Widget - (Play Store Link) This app is amazing. The kicker is that it only works with Android 4.2 and up. What makes this app so amazing is that I can look at my notifications straight from my lock screen. I can check Google Voice, Falcon Pro, as well as Gmail without unlocking my tablet. What’s even better is that more extensions are being added all the time. If you’re using the Nexus 10 or have a 4.2 ROM installed, than you need to download this app.

09. LilyPad HD - (Play Store Link) LilyPad is a great little social app because it floats over your home screen, which allows you to chat with your friends while using your tablet to do other things. Unlike the beta version this app supports multiple clients. MSN, Facebook, AIM, Yahoo, they’re all there. The free version only supports Google Talk, but a one time purchase of $2.99 makes the rest of them available as well as gets rid of ads. This is a must have if you’re always chatting with friends and family. If you’re worried that it’ll get in the way, you shouldn’t. because it minimizes to almost nothing and is easily accessible through the Notification Bar.

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08. Nova Launcher - (Play Store Link) This is probably one of the first apps that I install with each tablet. It takes the stock Android launcher and adds many bells and whistles. It allows for bigger folders, multiple scroll effects, widgets in the dock, and so on. While there are others out there, Nova has proved itself with great performance and customization. The Prime version has more transitions as well as unread counts and swipe gestures. While many would be happy with the standard interface that their tablet gives, this one is my go to for a more stock experience with the added benefits of customization.

07. Google Voice - (Play Store Link) I love this app because not only does it sync my voicemail, but it allows me to send and receive messages from my tablet. It’s a great way to send messages to other friend’s devices in an SMS fashion. Plus if you’re like me and flash different ROMS constantly, it’s a good way of keeping those messages backed up and synced across multiple devices. I know some people who use that solely as the way to communicate foregoing their phone’s SMS app altogether.

06. Drive - (Play Store Link) Given that we here at TalkAndroid use Drive for all our writing needs it’s important to have. What makes it great is just like Google Voice, everything is in the cloud and can be seen across multiple devices. I can create and edit documents, work on spreadsheets as well as work on presentations right from my tablet. Hook up a Bluetooth keyboard and I have a perfect laptop replacement for writing. While it does have its limitations, Google is slowly making strides to improve the overall experience. Here’s hoping that their acquisition of Quickoffice makes the mobile office experience even better.

05. Netflix - (Play Store Link) While I also use Hulu Plus, Netflix can’t be beat for the library it has. Most of the shows that I’ve watched over the years are there. The movie selection could be better, but it’s getting there. The quality isn’t bad, and for the most part, shows and movies stream in HD quality. It’s a perfect way to kill some time while traveling or waiting for a class to start.

04. Chrome - (Play Store Link) While not on par with its desktop counterpart, Chrome for Android has come a long way from our initial review. While I touted it for being a well developed piece of software, it has come a long way. Since our review, it has added tons of features as well as sprouted off a beta version. The speed of the app is still a factor, but I can look past the few extra seconds for the ability to sync across devices. It’s handy for if I’m reading or researching something on my desktop or other device, and I have to leave, I can quickly open the same page on any of my other devices.

03. Kii Keyboard - (Play Store Link) With a plethora of keyboards out there to choose from, it’s hard to distinguish yourself from the pack. With apps like Swiftkey and Swype always in the spotlight, sometimes it’s hard to notice others. Kii Keyboard is such a keyboard. Built upon the Android 4.2 keyboard, it has everything you’d expect. It has next word prediction as well as gesture (Swype) typing. It supports themes like Go Keyboard and offers the ability to split the keyboard for easier thumb typing. I can’t think of a keyboard that I would recommend more.

02. TalkAndroid - (Play Store Link) No this isn’t just a plug for you to get our app but it doesn’t hurt. I came across the app before I started writing for TalkAndroid and I was very impressed. The app was created following Android Design Principles and the quality shows. You can easily navigate through each section and find what you’re looking for. Articles are easy to read and posting comments is a breeze. It’s a great way to keep up with us here at TalkAndroid without the need of a web browser.

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01. Tablified - (Play Store Link) I have to say that the number one app to have for any tablet is Tablified. If you’re like me then you have probably been frustrated from time to time with the lack of a dedicated tablet section in the Play Store. While Google has made attempts at correcting this, Tablified takes the process out of the process. If you get any app out of this entire list, this is the one to get. It’s an entire database of Tablet specific apps presented in a very polished manner. So rather than wonder if the app you’re wanting is optimized for your tablet, use Tablified, and know that all you’re getting is apps optimized for the larger screen. The ad free version is on sale right now for $1.99 so if you haven’t yet…. Go get it!

Honorable Mention - Carbon Back Up (Play Store Link) - A recently developed app by Koush, CyanogenMod and ClockworkMod developer, Carbon Back Up is a great way to backup and sync data across multiple devices. I haven’t used it enough to give it a full review but from what I have used of it, I had to mention it. You can backup Messaging (SMS) data, launcher data, as well as data from any app you use. The great aspect for this is that you can sync the data on any of your devices. I tested it out when I switched from the G Note 10.1 to the Nexus 10. It saved my game progress from Simpsons Tapped Out so I was able to continue where I left off on the Nexus 10. This works for root and non-root users alike, and if you’re curious about using it, we have a handy guide for you to look at.

And that’s it. These are the ten tablet apps that I can’t live without and neither should you. There are many other apps out there that I use. but these are the first ten to get downloaded. What about you folks? What are the tablet apps that you can’t live without?

» See more articles by Jack Holt


  • Paul

    I’ve used Nova and I agree it’s the best launcher out there especially for tablets. I use it on my tablet and my Razr as my sole launcher now

  • http://twitter.com/fetchmobile Fetch

    Great intro to quality apps for people new to tablets

  • http://twitter.com/artofyourmind Art Of Your Mind

    On the tablet (TF300) my fav are Pulse (news, articles) and WeatherBug (I prefer old Honeycomb version).

  • Loving videos

    TurnYouOn is a pretty good app. Turns facebook friends into TV channels if anyone hasn’t checked it out.

  • Laura

    Just joined the android tablet community and although I am familiar with android as I have had a Galaxy S2 for a while now, it is frustrating to find apps designed for tablets. Thanks for a very useful post!

  • http://verwijs.wordpress.com/ André Verwijs

    Can’t install Dashclock widget, have a rooted FW. Not sure why…

  • http://www.ubiquitycorp.com/ Chris Carmichael Ubiquity Corp

    Thanks for the additional comments. I know I’m not going to change your mind, but I do want to point out that VLC Direct Pro Free, MX Player or Mob O Player can play many more video formats than the iPad. Thought I would post this for others.